Poetry: ‘Suicides”

I’ve known a few. Found one, in fact.
Surprising there aren’t more,

When you stop to think of it.
I mean, it’s not hard to do,

really, if one is intent,
and we are an impulsive species—

what more natural than at some moment of great pain
to just say “Screw it” and duck out?

And yet it would seem that most of the time
there’s something holding us to life,

a kind of gravity that stills or thwarts
all but the most determined.

The one I found, he talked of it.
I didn’t try to dissuade him—

he had his reasons.
But that gravity stayed him somehow,

kept him in place through wave after wave of temptation,
until, quite suddenly, it didn’t.

-Ben Downing, The Yale Review

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